What is Raw Milk?
Most milk readily available for sale is pasteurised. Pasturisation is the process where the milk is heated to high temperatures, to destroy harmful bacteria that may be present. However, as well as bacteria, the process of pasteurisation changes the nutritional profile of the milk and the insulin response. Raw milk is increasingly popular and where it comes from properly cared for animals on a good farm, the risk of harmful bacteria is reported to be low. Pasteurising milk has been the norm in Australia since the 1950’s.
Is Dairy Paleo?
I’ll come back to this issue in the near future, as it is definitely not a quick answer and there are many different views in the Paleo community.
I used to consume a moderate amount of dairy (mainly cheese, butter and milk), but I stopped for my Whole30 in August, and just haven’t started again. I'm not saying I won’t ever eat dairy again, but I feel so good without it; I'm not missing it – and I'm certainly not lacking any dairy specific nutrients in my diet.
I'm often asked how I can possibly get enough calcium from my Paleo diet, but from my research I get plenty of Calcium from green leafy vegetables, for example. Because I have a good diet, I don't lose much calcium – I have a better calcium balance. It appears when eating a poor diet, calcium is released from the body; for example, to balance the Phosphoric acid found in soft drinks, as well as the balance the acidity. This leaves those with poor diets with a far higher calcium requirement than those on a caveman diet.
We’ll see. If I do have dairy again, I’ll certainly be looking for raw dairy, which I've found quite hard (and slightly secretive) to locate here.
The Food Standards Agency for Australia & New Zealand has currently got a proposal out to consider allowing raw dairy to be sold in Australia and New Zealand. This appears to be on the back of consumer demand. The agency is clearly viewing this from a public safety perspective, which is surely a good thing. Legalising the sale of raw milk would give confidence that the raw dairy available, is produced to high, regulated standards. With legislation currently forbidding the sale of raw milk, the raw milk that is available is unknown and unregulated (unless of course, you own a dairy cow). Can you really be certain where it is from and how the animal was cared for?
Unfortunately, it looks like they have recently decided raw (drinking) milk will not be permitted. They consider the potential health risks too high. This is a shame, as people will continue to find and drink raw milk – which would be far safer were it regulated. They do however, appear to be relaxing the rules on certain hard cheeses.
Where to Get Raw Milk in Australia & New Zealand
You'll have to ask around locally, and perhaps befriend a farmer or two…
In the meantime, if you eat dairy make sure it comes from a good source. It should be organic – or better still from the farmer direct at a farmers market. I’ve read a lot of reports about cheap milk being watered down with “permeate”, which is created by removing the fat from dairy waste and concentrating the result. Cheap milk may also come from animals which have been given antibiotics. Just this week we’ve had reports of a (cheap) Australian milk brand being contaminated with a cleaning solution. Whilst it costs more, dairy is an area where it really is worth making sure you have got the best possible quality.
Is dairy a part of your diet? Do you think farmers should be allowed to sell raw dairy? Let me know what you think, in the comments, below!